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Politician Profile

Jyoti Gondek

Jyoti Gondek

"City Councillor. Mother. Leader. Businessperson. Wife. Citizen. Friend. Daughter. Problem solver. Entrepreneur. Expert in how cities work. Which of these characteristics make Jyoti Gondek the right person to be Calgary’s next mayor? Turns out — all of them."

Policy cards

Economic

Taxes, spending & infrastructure

Build the Green Line

Jyoti supports full construction of the Green Line from North to South. 

"Great cities have great transit. The Green line will revitalize Calgary’s economy and better serve citizens in communities that have been overlooked. Connecting our diverse business districts is good for business. The Green Line will connect 400,000 more Calgarians to the LRT network."

Revitalize Downtown

Jyoti supports full construction of the Green Line from North to South. 

"Let’s take more chances. Put a rooftop patio on an office building. Encourage live music in atriums. Embrace the placement of an interactive art installation on a train platform. Let’s try the things that we denied ourselves, all in the name of overregulation. Let’s be bold and build our downtown to capture hearts and minds."

Social

social issues & public policy

Affordable Housing

To best serve Calgarians, there should be a concerted shift towards supporting affordability across the housing continuum.

Jyoti supports affordable housing as a priority for City Hall, and encourages mixed tenure housing opportunities, from basic rental and ownership to housing cooperatives and perpetually affordable housing projects.

Indigenous Homelessness

The City of Calgary must better support Indigenous-led efforts to address homelessness.

"Research suggests that approaches informed by Indigenous worldviews, including elder-led service delivery, are most effective at addressing homelessness within these communities."

Environment

climate, energy & Sustainability

Net Zero Target

Calgary must become a resilient city by taking bold action that reduces GHG emissions and adapts to our changing climate.

Calgary must work to achieve net zero city-wide GHG emissions by 2050, and net zero GHG emissions from municipally-owned buildings and vehicles by 2035. 

Electric Vehicle Infrastructure

Jyoti supports investing in 15 to 20 DC Fast Charge stations that most residents can reach within a 10 minute drive. These stations would be capable of charging a vehicle to at least 80% of battery within 15 to 60 minutes, for a total investment cost of $3-8 million.

Energy Transition

Jyoti advocates for large companies to transition toward a more efficient and environmentally-friendly energy future.

Jyoti wants to seek out local business leaders who are actively contributing to this transition and invite them to "act as business-to-business ambassadors on economic development missions that position Calgary as a centre of excellence for the future of energy."

Green Public Fleet

Jyoti advocates for electrifying the municipal fleet of vehicles to meet a more ambitious target of net zero emissions from municipally-owned assets by 2035.

Green Buildings

Jyoti advocates for the use of sustainable building materials and a Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing program to enable property owners to invest in energy efficiency retrofits of their buildings, reducing demands for energy, assisting with reducing Calgary’s GHG emissions, and lowering energy costs.

Leadership

philosophy & guiding principles

Fair Deal for Calgary

Jyoti advocates that Calgary should seek a "fair deal" from the province to keep more of its collected property taxes. 

By allowing Calgary to keep a larger percentage of the property taxes that are collected, the provincial government would enable the city to address important infrastructure and operating funding shortfalls.

Cut Red Tape

"We need to get out of our own way as regulators. We should be encouraging pilot projects to see how they will work, rather than denying innovation because it doesn’t fit policy. Remove the fun-sucker conditions that permeate our dated policy documents and let people enjoy the spaces we’re creating. Practice calculated risk mitigation rather than defaulting to risk elimination when considering new ideas."

Economic

Economy, collection & spending of city revenue

For the Green Line

Jyoti supports full construction of the Green Line from North to South. 

“Great cities have great transit. The Green line will revitalize Calgary’s economy and better serve citizens in communities that have been overlooked. Connecting our diverse business districts is good for business. The Green Line will connect 400,000 more Calgarians to the LRT network.”

Reduce Red Tape

Jyoti advocates for greater ease of doing business.

“We need to get out of our own way as regulators. We should be encouraging pilot projects to see how they will work, rather than denying innovation because it doesn’t fit policy. Remove the fun-sucker conditions that permeate our dated policy documents and let people enjoy the spaces we’re creating. Practice calculated risk mitigation rather than defaulting to risk elimination when considering new ideas.”

Revitalize downtown

Jyoti wants to explore new ideas to revitalize downtown.  

“So let’s take more chances. Put a rooftop patio on an office building. Encourage live music in atriums. Embrace the placement of an interactive art installation on a train platform. Let’s try the things that we denied ourselves, all in the name of overregulation. Let’s be bold and build our downtown to capture hearts and minds.”

Social

Stance on trending social issues & public policy

Affordable Housing

Jyoti supports affordable housing as a priority for City Hall, and encourages mixed tenure housing opportunities, from basic rental and ownership to housing cooperatives and perpetually affordable housing projects.

“To best serve Calgarians, there should be a concerted shift towards supporting affordability across the housing continuum.”

Indigenous Homelessness

Jyoti claims that the City of Calgary must better support Indigenous-led efforts to address homelessness.

“Research suggests that approaches informed by Indigenous worldviews, including elder-led service delivery, are most effective at addressing homelessness within these communities.”

Environment

Plan to address climate, energy & resources

Net Zero Target

Jyoti claims that Calgary must work to achieve net zero city-wide GHG emissions by 2050, and net zero GHG emissions from municipally-owned buildings and vehicles by 2035. 

“Calgary must become a resilient city by taking bold action that reduces GHG emissions and adapts to our changing climate.”

Energy Transition

Jyoti advocates for large companies to transition toward a more efficient and environmentally-friendly energy future. Jyoti wants to seek out local business leaders who are actively contributing to this transition and invite them to “act as business-to-business ambassadors on economic development missions that position Calgary as a centre of excellence for the future of energy.”

Green Buildings

Jyoti advocates for the use of sustainable building materials and a Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing program to enable property owners to invest in energy efficiency retrofits of their buildings, reducing demands for energy, assisting with reducing Calgary’s GHG emissions, and lowering energy costs.

Electric Vehicle Infrastructure

To facilitate increased transition towards electric vehicles, Jyoti supports investing in 15 to 20 DC Fast Charge  that most residents can reach within a 10 minute drive. These stations would be capable of charging a vehicle to at least 80% of battery within 15 to 60 minutes, for a total investment cost of $3-8 million.

Green Public Fleet

Jyoti advocates for electrifying the municipal fleet of vehicles to meet a more ambitious target of net zero emissions from municipally-owned assets by 2035.

Leadership

Governance philosophy & guiding principles

Fair Deal for Calgary

Just as the province seeks referendum on equalization payments, Jyoti advocates that Calgary should seek a “fair deal” from the province to keep more of its collected property taxes. 

“Calgary has been left to fend for its residents with a dated and inefficient taxation model that relies on property taxes. Because property taxes go up and down based on assessed value of buildings, and downtown buildings have depreciated dramatically with the collapse of the traditional energy sector, Calgary’s only predictable revenue stream has steadily decreased. […] By allowing Calgary to keep a larger percentage of the property taxes that are collected, the provincial government would enable the city to address important infrastructure and operating funding shortfalls.”

Third Party Management of City Assets

Jyoti wants to explore bundling City-owned assets into a portfolio for third party management that draws value from those assets and provides Calgary a revenue stream that could be used for downtown redevelopment and ongoing maintenance.

MORE ABOUT JYOTI

Jyoti means light in Punjabi. She embodies her name by shedding light on issues and has an innate ability to light up a room.

Jyoti’s community involvement has taken many different paths, from volunteering on boards with her community association in strategic planning, supporting expansion of the Vivo for Healthier Generations recreation centre, actively participating on the City of Calgary’s Planning Commission, HealthYYC and the Community Representation Framework Task Force. Jyoti served on the boards of the Urban Land Institute Alberta, Design Talks Institute and Parent Support Association. She has also been integral as an advisor on the National Executive Forum on Public Property and the Calgary Economic Development Commercial Real Estate Committee. 

Like many of us, Jyoti chose Calgary as her home, and she’s passionate about making it the best for all of us. Born in the U.K. to Punjabi parents originating from India, Jyoti emigrated with her family at the age of four, settling in Manitoba.

After graduating from high school in Brandon and earning her undergraduate degree from the University of Manitoba, Jyoti took a position as a policy analyst with Family Services. She also found the time to embrace love and married a guitar-playing engineer named Todd. After the wedding, Jyoti and Todd moved to Alberta, had a short stint in Wainwright, and settled in Calgary where she continued her new career within the Credit Union family in Alberta and Saskatchewan. A few years later, she took a leadership role at Greyhound Canada.

In 2000, Jyoti’s parents moved from Manitoba to Calgary to be closer to family. After the sudden passing of her father a short time later, Jyoti found herself stepping into his shoes and picking up community work he had started. Carrying on his legacy with others in the South Asian community, they were instrumental in getting Punjabi instituted as a second language option in the Calgary Board of Education, opening up dialogue about the role of culture and religion in public education, and addressing domestic violence. 

Throughout her years of formal education, Jyoti focused on using applied research to drive change. She has an undergraduate degree in sociology and criminology, an M.A. in organizational sociology that focused on corporate social responsibility, and a Ph.D. in urban sociology that explored urban-rural struggles in hybrid areas like Rocky View County.

Jyoti was able to convert her training in research methods and critical thinking into a successful consulting practice called Tick. She spent 12 years working with a range of clients in the energy and city-building sectors. In 2014, Jyoti was asked to lead the newly formed Westman Centre for Real Estate Studies at the University of Calgary’s Haskayne School of Business. In her three years there, she established a program that brought students and professionals together to build strong and prosperous cities. She also examined the challenges facing Calgary’s commercial sector as property values in the core plummeted. Elected as Ward 3 Councillor in 2017, Jyoti uses her experience to highlight that cities are the intersection of people and places.

Education & Work Experience

University of Calgary (2009 - 2013)

  • Doctor of Philosophy - PhD, Urban Sociology

 

University of Calgary (2001 - 2003)

  • Master of Arts - MA, Organizational Sociology

 

University of Manitoba (1990 - 1993)

  • Bachelor of Arts - BA, Criminology / Sociology

City Councillor for Ward 3 (2017 - present)

Haskayne School of Business

  • Adjunct Assistant Professor (2017 - 2021)
  • Director, Westman Centre for Real Estate Studies (2014 - 2017)

 

Urban Sociology

  • Instructor, urbanization: context of cities & urban sociology (2012 - 2017)

Principal (2002 - 2014)

National Marketing & Agency Manager, Greyhound Courier Express (2000 - 2002)

Manager, Sales & Marketing (1997 - 1999)

Policy Analyst (1995 - 1996)

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